The Houston area is a beautiful metropolis. From beaches to bays, forests to bayous, ultra-modern to beautiful Victorian, Houston has a rich, varied past and is flying towards a fantasy future. Trees and buildings 200 years old stand in our Downtown nestled in with futuristic structures serving the globe’s every need. A hundred neighborhoods divide the five million inhabitants that represent every country and culture in the world. Houston is a vast, grand jewel of America.
Unfortunately, people with the money to make decisions don’t seem to care about any of that. Real estate companies, city planners, urban developers and pseudo-governmental organizations like Metro seem hellbent on the total destruction of everything that makes Houston what it is.
Every time I pull out of my drive way, every glance at the news, every conversation, there is glaring evidence of the rampant gentrification of Houston. One by one, historic homes and buildings are being torn down to build new buildings that look like old buildings. Age old shopping centers are being demolished to make way for the latest and greatest chain store. Houston is becoming the worlds largest suburb. Our culture is being systematically dismantled to make way for blah, standardized, corporate convenience. They call it development, I call it barbarism.
The bad news is: consumers in Houston are the villains. Companies only build because there are people willing to move into townhomes and condos, willing to shop in the new multistory Barnes & Noble/Starbucks #32548. The consumers buy tiny new homes in the Heights built three to a lot for half a million dollars each. The consumers pre-buy lofts in highrises before they’re even finished mutilating the lot. Consumers personally sponsor this crime.
So, what are we going to do? What can we do when votes don’t matter, when nobody asks us before they destroy our landmarks? I guess all we can do is enjoy Houston now, the splendor and history. Show your support for Houston’s culture. Shop at local stores, eat at local restaurants and choose places with history. Maybe join the GHPA. Maybe if we do it enough, if we tell others enough, we won’t loose any more culture.